The maintenance of the current
Courthouse has been greatly mismanaged since the trying days of WWII. At
that time the original ornamental iron domed tower was removed and replaced
with the current one. Clearly, the design chosen for the new tower was
not compatible with the original architecture of the building.
While I am a preservationist at heart, I am also realistic enough to understand that every decision to preserve a historic structure must be based on common sense, a viable plan and fiscal responsibility. One example of a historic structure that was saved from demolition without having a viable plan in place is the Spivey Manley house at the corner of Madison and Front streets. That building was spared some years ago, but to this day there has been nothing done with the structure, and no one has a clue what it can be used for.
In the case of the existing Courthouse, there are several viable options available, none of which have been properly explored. To me, talk of demolishing the building is both very expensive and very much premature.
Here is my own bottom line. Before one block is removed, I want to see an architect's rendering of exactly what is going to replace it, complete with realistic cost estimates. I want to see both proposals laid side by side so that we can make an intelligent and responsible decision. If the new design is deemed to be the better option, I want to know that every option for an alternative use of the grand old building has been thoroughly explored. I want to know if a new structure could be built in a more cost efficient manner if it were constructed on an adjacent corner of the same intersection.
There is a lot at stake here,
both financially and historically. Let's just take a little more time to
insure that every available option is properly explored.
A large crowd assembled for the rally.